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Amrita Deora says her office is a creative hub that inspires art

The CEO of Designera, the Mumbai-based pop-art gallery, talks about their sprawling new gallery space, and the ideas it has inspired

Amrita Deora
Amrita Deora (Courtesy Designera)

Amrita Deora was still in her early teenage years when a teacher got her interested in art. She went on to seek out art in all her extensive travels in later years, which subsequently inspired her to become an art entrepreneur.

After a foundation diploma in art and design at Central Saint Martins in London, Deora in 2020 founded The Designera. On 26 May this year, they opened an offline gallery dedicated only to pop-art in a 3,000 square foot area in Mumbai. The inaugural exhibition, which opened on 26 May, is currently on till 26 August. 

At Designera, Deora as CEO along with her team, invite artist applications, even as they pick emerging artists and provide them with creative, infrastructural, and financial support, to encourage their talents. The gallery claims to act as “an incubator for creators”, while providing, at the same time, art for sale on their website.

Also Read: The most important workspace is in your head, says artist Aakanksha Gaur

In an interview with Lounge, Deora talks about how her workspace went from a room in her apartment, to now being in a space that serves as a creative hub for artists of all stripes; how their first exhibition there made her realise she could use her platform for social good, and talks about her first acquisition for Designera. Edited excerpts.

Describe your current workspace to us.

The Designera office is where I currently work, and it's in an energetic part of Mumbai. With white walls and sizable windows that let in natural light, the room is light, open, and airy. We have a mix of modern and vintage furnishings, and some of our favourite pieces from our gallery are displayed on our walls.

Positivitea., a sculpture by Amit Badgu, available on Designera
Positivitea., a sculpture by Amit Badgu, available on Designera (Courtesy Designera)

Has it always been this way? Or has it evolved over the years?

Our office has undoubtedly changed over time. We had been operating out of a little room in my flat when we first began. As we expanded, we moved into a larger office facility that allowed us to host exhibitions and display more artwork. Today, our office serves as a creative hub and a place where we can implement our ideas.

How would you define your daily relationship with this space?

My daily relationship with this space is one of inspiration and creativity. I spend a lot of time here, and it's where I find my best ideas and work on new projects. It's a space where I can be myself and let my imagination run wild.

Tell us about some of the eureka moments you have had and major works that you have done from here.

Our inaugural exhibition, which featured the work of up-and-coming Indian artists, was one of the most significant works that we produced from this point forward. We were able to position ourselves as a forum for emerging artists thanks to its enormous success. When we understood that we could utilise our platform to aid social concerns, it was another lightbulb moment. Since then, we've started a number of projects with the intention of using art to inspire change.

Some views of the gallery (door on the right; seating on the left) where Deora spends most of her working hours
Some views of the gallery (door on the right; seating on the left) where Deora spends most of her working hours (Courtesy Designera)

If you were to trade in this place for another, what would it be?

If I had to swap this location for another, I would choose one that is even larger and enables us to display even more artwork. I would adore a rooftop area where we could have shows and other gatherings.

What's the one thing that has always been at your workspace over the years? Why?

My laptop is the only item that has consistently been at my workspace over the years. It is the instrument that enables me to learn, create, and interact with the outside world. It's crucial to how I operate and how I think creatively.

Also Read: Inside the studio of Simran Balar Jain, a sex-ed content creator

The first artist whose work you followed closely. What about them appealed to you?

Frida Kahlo was the first artist whose work I carefully watched. I was drawn to her work because it was so intensely emotional and intimate. She expressed her suffering, challenges, and victories through her work. Her work motivated me to use art to examine my own emotions since it was both beautiful and raw.

The one piece of artwork that always moves and inspires you

The one piece of art that never fails to move and inspire me is "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh. I adore how he was able to portray the majesty and strength of nature, as well as the feelings he tried to convey with his brushstrokes. This piece of art speaks to me deeply and serves as a reminder of the transformational potential of the arts.

A memory of one of your earliest acquisitions for Designera — how did it come to be?

Young artist Rohit Sharma's sculpture was one of my first purchases for Designera. His original vision and capacity to turn commonplace items into works of art really impressed me.

Creative Corner is a series about writers, artists, musicians, founders and other creative individuals and their relationships with their workspaces.

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